In this final section of this book (chapters 23–24), Joshua’s speeches recap the story of their exodus from Egypt, remind the Israelites (and us) that God has been faithful in keeping all His promises, and call the people of Israel to accountability and faithfulness. It is this last charge that they will fail to keep—and that failure will cause the people of Israel so much trouble in the generations to come.
23 After Israel had taken possession of their inheritances and the Eternal had given them peace for many years and when Joshua was very old, 2 he summoned all of Israel, their judges and officers and leaders.
Joshua: I am an old man. 3 You have seen everything the Eternal One, your True God, did to these nations for you; the Eternal One, your True God, fought for you. 4 I have allotted as your tribes’ inheritances the territories of those people who still remain, as well as all the nations I captured from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. 5 The Eternal your God will push them out of their lands and out of your sight and you will live in their lands, just as He promised you. 6 So be firm and unswerving, observing all that is written in the law of Moses without deviation. 7 That will ensure that you don’t start to blend in with the other nations around you or call upon their gods or worship them or serve them. 8 Just hold tightly to the Eternal One, your True God, as you always have, 9 for He has driven out great and powerful nations before you like leaves in the wind, and you know that no one has ever been able to stand against you. 10 One of you can pursue a thousand because it is He who fights for you, just as He promised.
11 So always be careful to love the Eternal One, your God. 12 If you turn away from Him and toward those left of the foreign nations among you—if your women marry them and their women marry you— 13 you can be sure that the Eternal will turn from you. He won’t remove the nations around you, but instead He will let them be a snare for you to be caught in, a wound in your sides, and thorns in your eyes until you perish from this good land that He has given you.
14 The time has come for me to die and return to the earth. But I want to leave you with these thoughts: Think back and you will know without a doubt that not one single good thing that the Eternal One, your God, promised you has been left undone. Not a single one.
15 But in the same way the Eternal One, your True God, has fulfilled all these blessings, you can be sure that if you turn away from Him, He will fulfill the curses until the Eternal has obliterated you from this good land He gave you. 16 If you break the commandments that He has laid upon you and turn from Him to serve and worship other gods, then His anger will flare white-hot against you, and you will quickly be wiped from the face of this good land He has given you.